Creative Learning Design Tools

Luciana Bueno

While text-editors (e.g. Google Docs, MS Word) might be useful for writing a lecture, they’re not an intuitive medium for designing experiences that are open-ended, challenging, and exciting to both students and educators. This project explores how educators might design creative learning experiences using what we describe as "creative learning design tools." 

Creative Learning Design tools are more tinkerable, more personal, and more collaborative: these tools encourage educators to tinker with their plans, sketch ideas, extend their imaginations, iterate on their work, and organize their thinking in ways that make sense to them.  In the process, educators can make more of their thinking visible to themselves and others, opening up new opportunities for collaboration. 

Our research explores how teaching as a form of creative work can be better empowered with creative tools. And makes the case for bringing the playful spirit of technologies for children to the design of technologies for educators. 

In response to COVID-19, we're also exploring ways to support online collaboration among educators and students. This includes efforts to co-design and facilitate extended project based learning using a digital medium that acts both as a tool to think with and a tool for making thinking visible.

Our inspiration comes from the design world, where tools like Sketch or Figma help designers bring ideas to life.  From the creative computing movement (think ScratchLogo, and Glitch) and HCI pioneers like Alan Kay and Bret Victor.  From organizers advocating for multiple ways of knowing and thinking (like bell hooks or Sherry Turkle). From post-industrial models for school (think Reggio and Montessori). And from the countless educators and young people we work with.

Project at a glance